VOGONS


First post, by Brawndo

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I've noticed that Nvidia 6800 GT video cards seem to be among the more sought after video cards, and sell for more of a premium than others. I understand it is one of the last and most powerful AGP video cards available, but other than that, does it fill a niche that other systems and video cards can't fill? I get it maybe one of the best options for somebody with only a couple retro systems to play with, so they need the ability to span quite a few years of compatibility with 98 and XP, but for somebody (like myself) who has probably too many retro systems to play with (according to my wife, God help me if she knew), if my retro PCs only need to span 3-4 years of compatibility, is there a benefit to splurging on one? It seems to me the Radeon X1600 and X1650 would be a good competitor, which are also available in AGP and generally sell for a reasonable (to me) amount.

The 6800 GT was released in the XP era, so I personally would not care to run one in a 98 system. I have enough video cards which can play any 98 era game out there without issues. I also have a C2D system with a Geforce 560 Ti for a later XP era system, which will destroy 6800 GT performance in XP, and an AMD 1.4 GHz Tbird system with currently a Radeon 9600 XT (also have a 9600 Pro) to cover the early XP years. Would a 6800 GT fill a gap somewhere in there I'm not aware of? Anything I'm missing?

Reply 1 of 19, by mockingbird

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No driver supports before 56.xx - which means broken compatibility with older games. This also applies to certain later GeForce FX variants (5700 for example).

But probably much more preferable to an ATI equivalent, since ATI cards do not perform faster when dropping down to 16-bit color.

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Reply 2 of 19, by Con 2 botones

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I believe, in one hand it has to do with the satisfaction of owning the best model of a series, like having the top CPU a certain socket can offer.
As"Uncle Awesome" said, it is like "revenge with my past".

There is also the compatibility side of it, as you already know.
GeForce 7000 series, for instance, also come in AGP and can perform better than the 6000 series, but it seems they don´t have a good W98 support (drivers).

Are you missing something by not having a Voodoo 3 on a Pentium III system? Yes (certain compatiblity issues and also that allure of possesing an unique piece of hardware history) and no (there are more powerful cards to pair with a PIII system).

For now, I am a happy camper with a GeForce 6600GT on an AthlonXP 3200+ (for up to 2002,2003 XP era). Powerful enough for a 1280x1024 monitor (not every setting maxed out, of course), still reasonably priced.

Reply 3 of 19, by Namrok

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I think it's just because the 6800 GT was a historically significant card. I actually regret making my own build around it because it's prohibitively expensive, has flakey VRAM, and if you need to replace it the AGP slot slot is a real dead end and no viable replacement is any more cost effective. I'd have been better off getting any number of PCIe mainboards ranging from Socket 939 to AM2, and throwing a $20 PCIe card in there from subsequent series of cards. But I wanted what I wanted because of nostalgia.

Now it's historically significant because it was a massive generational leap in performance. It got Nvidia back on track after a rough FX series of cards. It was also the card when Doom 3 released, performing uniquely well in that engine compared to it's ATI counterpart. I think it was also the first line of cards that had SM3.0 support? The Athlon 64/Geforce 6800 GT combo was an affordable combo that reigned supreme at an influential time in PC gaming (2004 to 2006) and an exciting time in PC hardware when AMD and Intel were having to really compete, as well as ATI and Nvidia.

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Win98 - K6-2+ 500, GF2 MX, SB AWE 64 CT4500, SBLive CT4780
Win98 - Pentium III 1000, GF2 GTS, SBLive CT4760
WinXP - Athlon 64 3200+, GF 7800 GS, Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 4 of 19, by BitWrangler

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I am pondering the same sort of question, though 6800 is just one of the cards in consideration. Mine would be something more like, "Do I want to fill the high-end/last-gasp AGP gap" ?? Because as has been said, there's even some quite ordinary PCIe cards that can walk all over them. I am thinking I've got the parts for high performance; socket A, socket 754 and socket 478. Though I could skip 754 AGP as I have 754 PCIe option.

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Reply 5 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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They are primarily used for builds like "Ultimate Windows 98/XP gamings system" or similar jazz. Overall it's a commodity, but not as valuable as 7800/7900/7950 AGP cards. But latter are harder to find, so most settle with the next best thing, which is more commonly available.

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Reply 6 of 19, by mockingbird

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Namrok wrote on 2021-09-30, 15:39:

I actually regret making my own build around it because it's prohibitively expensive, has flakey VRAM

It's not expensive... If you look around you can get them for less than $50. I've purchased several.

Also, GDDR3 was not flakey... GDDR1 and GDDR2 (GDDR2 is really just GDDR1) were pretty unreliable though. People always claimed the 6xxx generation was the first bumpgate chip and they were often associated with the near 100% failure rate of their IGP analog (MCP61, for example).

But that's not completely true, considering:

1) The MCPs were not well designed, mechanically, but it did not help that HP pushed them far too much voltage-wise, and for no reason. They are far more reliable when run at their rated voltage (or less).
2) It is my belief now that TSMC's 110nm re-fab was where the trouble started for the GeForce 6xxx series. My 6600 GT TSMC 110nm card is faulty, and none of my older 130nm cards (6800GT) are faulty. I've got a 6800GS as well which seems fine, but I'm not sure if it's really a 110nm part, or just a 130nm part with some shaders disabled in the ROM.

That said, I agree, why the heck build a system around a 6800 series AGP? If you're going to go that route, there are infinitely better options that don't use such ancient technology.

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Reply 7 of 19, by BitWrangler

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Shhh, my MCP61s are running fine and don't know they should have problems 🤣

Edit: Pondering on that, I came to think that a lot of MCP61 boards were either in low end prebuilts that were not well looked after and had cheaped out everything else to contend with, or were "upgrade specials" meaning they got slapped in old PIII cases with 100W of CPU instead of the 30W it came with and without adequate cooling provision, baked.

Last edited by BitWrangler on 2021-10-01, 14:14. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 8 of 19, by pixel_workbench

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Probably from people not realizing that a PCIE 6800gt can also work in Win98. Or just for the sake of having a ridiculously overpowered AGP card, same reason AGP x1950, hd3850 and hd4670 cards fetch even more insane prices, even though you cant use them in Win98

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Reply 9 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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Not to mention GeForce PCX 5750/5900 cards, which are flawed, but still better than 6xxx series. But you can relatively easy pair AGP GeForce 6800GT with a motherboard which still has good DOS compatibility with various PCI sound cards.

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Reply 10 of 19, by Ydee

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I like my MSI NX6800 128TD. At the time it was presented, I had something from the red camp (maybe unlocked Radeon 9800SE?, I think), so years later I was happy to get something from the competition for the next retrobuild. It may not have been a groundbreaking GPU, but it's nice to have something from the high end at the time. In addition, the AGP version was almost certain to be fitted with the NV40 core, which has 16 pipelines, 6 vertex shaders and could often be successfully unlocked to get a nearly full version of the 6800GT (but this has higher clocks, which especially with memory is not easy to achieve with fitted 2.8ns chips).
And when it was $10, there was nothing to work out.

Reply 11 of 19, by Tetrium

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mockingbird wrote on 2021-09-30, 18:44:

That said, I agree, why the heck build a system around a 6800 series AGP? If you're going to go that route, there are infinitely better options that don't use such ancient technology.

I used one in one of my A64 3500+ builds. Second build used a 7600GS and both systems were used for a LAN, playing mostly BF2 (AIX2 mod, but heavily modded by me) with some of my friends.
The 6800 was a flea market find while the 7600GS was bought NIB from a store but even though the 6800 did seem to have some trouble with FPS when a lot of stuff was happening (and there was a lot of stuff happening a lot of the time!).

I reckon someone would want a fast AFP card if they wanted to build a fast AGP rig. I used WinXP. But I'd say that with todays prices I'd probably just go with some cheap dual core with a cheap PCI-E card instead, it's much much faster and BF2 worked just fine on Windows 7.

EDIT: The 6800 and 7600GS seemed to have virtually identical performance btw, just ftr.

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Reply 12 of 19, by sacri

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2021-09-30, 16:57:

They are primarily used for builds like "Ultimate Windows 98/XP gamings system" or similar jazz. Overall it's a commodity, but not as valuable as 7800/7900/7950 AGP cards. But latter are harder to find, so most settle with the next best thing, which is more commonly available.

There were one of those mentioned. AGP 7x series had 7600, 7800GS but no gtx's

IMHO 6800[any] is a solid option to retro 98 rig.

So it is more a 'I want' than 'I need' selection.

The 7 series is not officially supported on 98 there might be driver and other issues.

I have setups running 6800 Ultra, 6800GT, 6800, 6600GT and so on.

Oh and if going in to 6800 series, remember keep it cool, those cards have a crappy stock cooler. Use NVsilencer 5, Thermaltake TMG ND1 or zalman.

One of my GT goes in the oven in "regular basis". And it works every time.

Reply 13 of 19, by mockingbird

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Tetrium wrote on 2021-10-01, 14:15:

Second build used a 7600GS and both systems were used for a LAN, playing mostly BF2 (AIX2 mod, but heavily modded by me) with some of my friends
....
BF2 worked just fine on Windows 7.

BF1942 works well on Windows 7, and there is a widescreen executable replacement for it... Just up until two or so years ago, I used to play the Desert Combat mod on a mutiplayer server on a regular basis, and while empty during the day, it was always full at night.

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Reply 14 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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AGP 7x series had 7600, 7800GS but no gtx's

Actually, there were Gainward GeForce 7800GS+ and some GeForce 7950GT cards, which are on par with GeForce 7800GTX 512 Mb. Fully unlocked G71 chips, 512 Mb with decent clocks. Galaxy also made universal AGP version of 7950GT. Probably for perverted needs to pair such powerful card with something like Slot A system.

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Reply 15 of 19, by Tetrium

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sacri wrote on 2021-10-01, 14:49:
There were one of those mentioned. AGP 7x series had 7600, 7800GS but no gtx's […]
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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2021-09-30, 16:57:

They are primarily used for builds like "Ultimate Windows 98/XP gamings system" or similar jazz. Overall it's a commodity, but not as valuable as 7800/7900/7950 AGP cards. But latter are harder to find, so most settle with the next best thing, which is more commonly available.

There were one of those mentioned. AGP 7x series had 7600, 7800GS but no gtx's

IMHO 6800[any] is a solid option to retro 98 rig.

So it is more a 'I want' than 'I need' selection.

The 7 series is not officially supported on 98 there might be driver and other issues.

I have setups running 6800 Ultra, 6800GT, 6800, 6600GT and so on.

Oh and if going in to 6800 series, remember keep it cool, those cards have a crappy stock cooler. Use NVsilencer 5, Thermaltake TMG ND1 or zalman.

One of my GT goes in the oven in "regular basis". And it works every time.

What I ended up doing was to juryrig an 8cm fan on top of the stock heatsink (I had removed the fan assembly previously). It seemed to work pretty much fine while also remaining silent.
The 7600GS was one of those passive ones with very large heatsink to which I also added case fans.
This was years ago though so old TIM was less of an issue and was not a concern to me back then.

Btw, the 6800 I used was fairly weird. Iirc it was a 128MB ASUS one but it had no print on the shroud while it did have (iirc) the larger heatsink which covered the memory chips.
It made it somewhat troublesome for me back then to correctly identify it. But for all I know the previous owner had messed around with it before I got it, he did seem somewhat tech savvy.

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Reply 16 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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The 7600GS was one of those passive ones with very large heatsink to which I also added case fans.

7600GS use 90nm lithography which is presumably doomed to catastrophic failure sooner or later. Regardless of how efficiently you can cool it.

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Reply 17 of 19, by Tetrium

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2021-10-02, 18:18:

The 7600GS was one of those passive ones with very large heatsink to which I also added case fans.

7600GS use 90nm lithography which is presumably doomed to catastrophic failure sooner or later. Regardless of how efficiently you can cool it.

I assumed as much. I wasn't aware of these problems since I bought them new (I have 2 of them, both different brands and both using a similar juryrigged cooling solution).
These problems are also the main reason I never bought any second hand. The ones I do have, well, there's not much else I can do about that now.

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Reply 18 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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These problems are also the main reason I never bought any second hand.

I think it won't help. Longevity of particular chip is very random, due to nature of "bumbgate" failure, so used card could live much longer than new old stock one.
From subjective observation, 110nm chips (GeForce 6600, 6800GS/XT, 7800 series) are less prone to failure, although not as "bulletproof" as old IBM 130nm fabrication (GeForce 6800 AGP, GeForce 6800GT/Ultra).

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Reply 19 of 19, by Tetrium

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The Serpent Rider wrote on 2021-10-03, 03:45:

These problems are also the main reason I never bought any second hand.

I think it won't help. Longevity of particular chip is very random, due to nature of "bumbgate" failure, so used card could live much longer than new old stock one.
From subjective observation, 110nm chips (GeForce 6600, 6800GS/XT, 7800 series) are less prone to failure, although not as "bulletproof" as old IBM 130nm fabrication (GeForce 6800 AGP, GeForce 6800GT/Ultra).

I mean I never bought any of the bumpgate affected cards second hand.
I do have a couple of the affected cards but all of those are cards that were gifted to me or that were in second hand PC systems I got for very cheap and thus were by chance.

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Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
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